I’ll soon go to a hot place
Where white basins are white and
Blue water is green.
I’ll have one thought each day. I’ll
Cut myself on the mean sides of plants
Growing where the alleys join
The roads, where the kids play
Sleeveless games, one-handed
On bikes, where fruit is the flavor of sex
On aluminum cans, and buses, and
Rental jeeps, and trailers.
In the hot place where the night is
Never orange from clouds of
Particle display, never the color of
Airports shooting people
Into the great circle, into
Colder places. Where everyone stays
Next to themselves and the ugly trumpet flowers
Masquerade on vines they could grow without.
EXPRESSION FOR A SHAFT OF LIGHT AND TESTOSTERONE
The careless properties of motive invited me to steal away,
to expatriate myself to your wasted fortunes and physical strength.
Realism was useless going on when even in this poverty
I stretched endless on golden porticos and ached on sun divans.
Motive unrolled its wares—its thick, rosebrown carpetry, its
lacquered pipes and wax papers filled with candied plums,
its isochrone maps and lathers, its watch straps and
powder horns—and don’t you ever touch, it said.
Understanding is the careless thing then, the propensity
to luxuriate in absurdity, hastening to turn
old fondnesses in our hands like a painted conch’s sharp gnarl,
trying out and putting down words for the grim sensation of mind
in the grip of ecstasy. In a city I have touched you,
foolishly. I try and picture you in a sunscape, going away,
all torso and nervous expressions of virility.
I lay my hands on a bit of money so someone will sell the depiction to me.
For the foreground I have ordered aspens in various maturity
and a winding blue road the color of your left eye.
There may be something that everyone can agree on
calling pleasure. May be
the act of stepping from sun to shade
where there is a bowl of water,
where dry reticulations hang down into the
thistlegray zone of shade, near that small dish of water.
It seems like even joyless people could agree to enjoy
this, but what do I know?
I am newly fitted with an industrial system that injects joy
into me over and over against my will.
I have stopped being suspicious about hydraulics.
I fill with oil the temperature of me.
Honey leaks out of my skin. I taste how I taste like clean wheat.
My mind is the color of fitted white sweaters in the shade.
The back of my eye repeats one word to me, softly.
It is my great privilege to ignore it.
Christine Gosnay is the founding editor of The Cossack Review. Her first book of poetry, Even Years, won the Stan and Tom Wick Prize and will be published in 2017 by Kent State University Press. She lives in Israel.